This morning we visited a new spot that is very close to home. We live in the Sandusky neighborhood of Lynchburg, meaning we are right down the street from Sandusky Elementary and Middle Schools. Behind the schools is a huge playground, soccer fields, a football field, and a trail leading to someplace we hadn't explored. We went to the playground for the boys to play and then hiked down the Spartan Trail to find this beautiful creek and old stone mill. It was a hidden treasure, and we enjoyed our discovery.
Last Saturday we went bowling with the middle school students in the youth group. Our friends the Halls joined us, and we got a lane with bumpers for the little guys to bowl. We also got this great ski-ramp looking device the kids could roll the ball down to get some momentum. They had a blast although it was a bit chaotic to control three 3-year-olds, a 2-year-old, and an almost 2-year old in an environment full of heavy bowling balls and oblivious teenagers. Luke actually bowled a strike using the ramp, and he said, "I can't believe I rolled a stripe, Mom!" It was pretty cute. My friend Jennifer made the very accurate comment that sometimes blogs sound sugary sweet, making everything sound rosy and not very real. I have to agree. This will not be one of those posts! =)
We certainly don't have any bad news, but instead we're going to be honest about our good news--Luke is completely 100 percent potty trained. woohoo! It has been a long hard road, considering he'll be 4 in May, and as Shane and several of our friends in the same situation have said, it can be the most difficult, most challenging thing parents face with a young child. He had no problem going #1; he's been doing that in the potty for almost a year. However, he adamantly refused #2. But the good news is that all that has changed dramatically. He's not wearing diapers/pull-ups at all. And he is so proud of himself, and we are relieved and feel the stress level in our lives has gone down a notch. And all you overachiever moms whose beloved cherubs mastered this at 18 months, more power to you.
So with this in mind, a little encouragement for all our many, many friends who are pregnant right now: There is no formula for raising kids. It is SO challenging, and you'll want to scream when people tell you to just relax and enjoy it. But then you realize they're right. Despite how it feels, those little trials don't last forever. And life enters warp speed when you add children to your family. Parenthood has been a tool that God has used to teach us, to show us our sins in the mirror of our children, to help us glimpse the delight He takes in us, to show us His infinite patience, to show us the need for justice and mercy, to remind us to cling to the Cross.